being human,  breath,  embodiment,  learning,  spiritual direction

Dancing with the Divine

A few days ago the picture of me below popped up on my Facebook memories. It was from eleven years ago. I look good in it; happy. And it got me thinking. Eleven years isn’t that long ago, and at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago. I was in my early forties and my daughter was only eleven—exactly half the age she is now.

I don’t look back very often. I can’t read old journals; it depresses me. I don’t like thinking about how things were. I’m much more of a forward moving person. I think about how things used to be, and I thank God for the way things are now. Thinking about today and tomorrow always feels better in my body than thinking about what was. I find this interesting.

But … I do see the value in looking back. If we never look back, we don’t fully recognize how far we’ve come. If we never look back, we don’t learn the lessons that we need to learn as we move forward. If we never look back, we’re likely bypassing much of the spiritual growth we could be realizing. And if we never look back, how can we really move forward, as our truest, fullest selves?

I feel grateful to have found this picture. It’s given today so much more context and, as always, it makes me think of the ways the Divine works.

My esteemed, beloved teacher, James Finely, often asks “how has it come to pass that you’ve become the person you are today?” I love this reflection. So often we think we know the way our life will go, but often the Divine shows us otherwise.

As a current student in a Spiritual Direction Certificate Program/Master’s in Pastoral Care, I think about God a lot. No, that’s not quite right. I’ve always thought about God a lot; me being in this program is a product of how I’m built, at my core.

In the program, we’re taught to companion people on their walks with God. Questions like, ‘Where is God in this for you?,’ ‘What do I need to love right now?,’ ‘What do I need to love and accept about myself?’ and ‘What is love’s wisdom in this moment?’ have become regular inquiries—internally and with others.

As someone who didn’t grow up in a faith tradition, someone who’s not comfortable with preachy language, and who has little spiritual support within a tradition, I’ve had to find my way. I have always been spiritually inclined. I’ve always been a seeker. I’ve just never really had language for they ways God moves in my life. But it’s forming for me in a big way. I recently commented to one of my teachers that this whole program is one big spiritual guidance session.

What I see now that I didn’t clearly see before is that discernment (thoughtfully making decisions about what comes next in life) and ‘listening for God’ aren’t necessarily as hard as I made them out to be. The Divine is always speaking. The answers truly are inside of us. They just aren’t always readily available in the moment, at least that’s been my truth. The answers are here but I’ve got to get out of my own way to find them. Letting go and letting God is all about the quiet wisdom inside of me. It’s that ‘still small voice’ that can barely be heard. It’s a dance we do with the Divine.

The world at-large attempts to keep God at arm’s length, but the truth is that should God stop loving us in this moment, we would disappear. The entire world would vanish in the blink of an eye. We are inextricably linked to our divinity and God.

My life today is better than it’s ever been. Sure I’ve had my fair share of hardships; I even lived through an almost three year ‘dark night of the soul’ a few years ago. But the key ingredient, I believe, is to stay present, to always move with and toward the calls of my heart. While we may not cognitively know the outcomes of our actions, or even what our next steps should be, something within us … intuition, Source, the Divine, God … is always placing calls on our hearts, felt as deep pulls towards (and hard pushes against) particular things in our lives. It really is as simple and as hard as that.

To live life well, follow your heart. And when things don’t work out, get quiet enough to listen for what should come next.

Professional dancers may know the proper moves and steps but to be truly great, they must feel the music. They must move their bodies intuitively. They must allow themselves to be moved from the inside out. It’s this way with God. Our false, ego-based selves force and fit things to our whims, while our True Selves, who we are in God, surrenders, lets go, flows.

‘How has it come to pass that I’ve become the person I am today?’ By God’s wonderful grace, mercy and love, the same grace, mercy and love God has for you. By listening, surrendering, dancing. We really do live in a wonderful world; too bad humans are such experts at screwing things up.

When in doubt, dance.

(Photo by Anita Austvika on Unsplash)


  • ~ pencilfox.

    Love the following:
    The photo of you.
    The James Finley question, how it came to pass that I am the person I am today.
    Listening for God.

    Not necessarily in that order, because, really, I wanna listen for God more often. But I *do* love that photo of you.